Search

My Thoughts

Adventures in Faith

THE NATURE OF CULTURE

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Change culture and you change law.  What was wrong fifty years ago is lawful now.  Since the New Testament was written by men who lived in first century culture, may we change, alter, or ignore some commands tied in with that culture?  Is that allowance granted by plain scriptural statements or by our wish to justify our cultural substitutions?  Whether those changes are made based upon expediency, inference, or a fluid culture, are those choices made with God’s approval?  If our changes are based upon our societal whims, are they actually valid?  When such changes are practiced as biblical, does God acquiesce and allow it even though it negates what He has revealed in scripture?  If so, where is that divine compliance given in detail?

Paul wrote to the Corinthians stating, “Since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2).  Moses mentioned a man leaving his parents and being joined to one woman (Genesis 2:25).  Yet, despite their failure to follow those scriptural guidelines, some like Jacob and David were described as faithful.  Both are mentioned in God’s Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:9, 20-21, 32).  Divine history informs us that both had multiple wives or bed partners.  Did culture have anything to do with it?  In our culture, such practice is unlawful.  Yet God states concerning them, “These were all commended for their faith” (Hebrews 11:39 NIV).

Cultural changes may be seen today in the view our country holds on abortion.  It was illegal until the Supreme Court case in 1973.  Abortion was limited to about 20 weeks into the pregnancy.  However, with time, that limit was increased until just before birth.  Now it is being sought in some states that if the baby survives all efforts to abort it, it may be allowed to die from exposure.  About 650,000 are aborted each year in the USA.  Body parts are being sold for profit from those babies.  The pre or newborn have no legal rights even though healthy at birth IF they are unwanted.  Over the next fifty years our cultural laws may be written that will allow euthanasia for any individual who is judged to be of little or no benefit to society.  Will these changing cultural practices be viewed as biblical?

Allowing culture to justify our changes in how biblical commands are to be performed is not new.  Jacob and David stand out in the Old Testament.  Samson is aligned with the faithful in Hebrew 11:32. His history is given in Judges 13:24 to 16:30.  There is one action that stands out as an illustration of his “faith.”  He killed over four thousand Philistine infidels.  His largest number slain was by taking his own life which would now be labeled suicide.  He was successful and faithful in killing the enemies of Yahweh.  Would one be considered faithful today if he killed one individual in the name of Yahweh or Jesus?  He lived in a different culture and the law he lived under was the Old Testament.

The Jews substituted the synagogue system for the Temple when they were in Babylonian captivity.  When they returned, they brought that man-made creation with them.  Jesus accepted that tradition without controversy.  The Jews added four cups of wine to be consumed at different times during the Passover meal.  This tradition was also accepted by Jesus without any negative rebuttal.

Western Culture changed the holy kiss to a welcoming handshake.  It changed a table, seating all twelve apostles and Jesus, to a small one whose only purpose is to display the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine.  Yet we refer to IT as “the Lord’s table” and speak of gathering around it to partake!  Culture mentally changed the word “slave” to “servant” or employee, and the word “master” to employer while reading Ephesians 6:1, 5-6, 9; Colossians 4:1; and 1 Timothy 6:2.  It changed “house to house” assemblies to “church buildings” with rules and attitudes while in that sanctuary or auditorium.  Culture took sandal wearing men out of the pulpit and dressed them in suits, shirts, and ties with shining shoes.   Then in the twenty-first century it is regressing back to the sandals.

Luke reveals the Jewish culture of using four cups of wine during the Passover feast by mentioning the last two of the four in the partaking of the Lord’s supper (Luke 22:17, 20).  Matthew and Mark bypass Luke’s first cup and combine its dialogue with the last one (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:23-25).  Culture plays a part in how an event is understood and believed.

These cultural events are a thorn for those who refuse to understand that the New Testament was written by men who lived in first century for people living in that culture.  When one reads our culture into the Bible, as if Paul and others were living in the twenty-first century, that tendency is an effort to harmonize in the wrong direction.  If one rejects first century culture in favor of ours, he may end up binding what God has not bound and loosing what God has not loosed (Matthew 16:19; 18:18).

THE LIST!

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, October 14, 2019

Have you ever made a list of what you believe must be included in a congregation for it to be the New Testament church?  Will your list have the same things as mine?  Will you include things that I haven’t?  With each statement, is there a passage in the New Testament that explicitly outlines what you have?  When finished, will any congregation in the New Testament live up to your finished product?  The two worst ones are Laodicea and Corinth.  I’ll refer only to Corinth to keep this short.  Paul established this assembly around 49-50.  He was with them for about eighteen months (Acts 18:1-18).  In 3-4 years after that, they have developed the error Paul writes to correct!  The Chloe family brought Corinth’s many problems to Paul’s attention (1 Corinthians 1:11).   That information was not treated as gossip by Paul.  Most who gossip don’t want their name attached as part of “everyone is concerned”!

Paul wrote to “the church of God.”  He does not write to a group of people who, due to their error, are no longer recognized as “the true church.”  The church has not been withdrawn from by an apostle, prophet, congregation, nor God.  The letter is void of any action of withdrawal being contemplated by anyone.

In three years, four personality groups have been created.  1) Paul, 2) Apollos, 3) Cephas, and 4) Christ.  All four of those individuals were excellent teachers.  None would have agreed to Corinth’s denominating.  Unity was Jesus’ prayer (John 17:20-21).  Division is disruptive and causes disbelief (v.21).  This Corinthian pattern continues to prevail in the 21st century, although neither Jesus nor Paul are condoning such divisiveness as scriptural.

The assembly tolerates a man who is in an incestuous relationship.  They refuse to discipline that individual.  Not even pagans are engaged in such debauchery (5:1-13).  They shame the name of Jesus by going to law against one another rather than settling their differences “in house” (6:1-8).  They have allowed themselves to be infected with their former way of life (6:9-20).

They are having marital problems and not fulfilling their responsibilities one toward the other (7:1-16).  There is a problem between those who are circumcised and those who are not (vv.17-24).  He gives his judgment to virgins and suggests it would be best, due to persecution, to not marry.  But if one does, it is not wrong (vv.25-40).

Those who are strong in the faith should not offend those who are weak in theirs (8:1-13).  It might be hard for us to classify anyone at Corinth as “strong” in the faith.  Yet, Paul’s letter found it despite our blindness.  Paul had to defend his apostleship since some were denying it (9:1-27).

Some were apparently fellowshipping idolatry and confusing the table of the Lord with the table of Satan (vv.1-22).  He encourages them to follow what is right (vv.23-33).

Women are refusing to present themselves properly when they pray and prophesy.  So are some men (11:1-16).  They refuse to partake together.  Some eating too much of the communion while others going hungry.  Some are drinking too much and getting drunk.  Some are making the Lord’s supper into an act of condemnation (vv.17-34).

Chapter 13 is a solution to all of their problems.  Loving one another is God’s answer, but divisiveness has blinded them, even as it continues to do today (13:1-13).

Paul has to reiterate the correct use of spiritual gifts (12:1-31).  He continues by regulating how many prophets and tongue speakers may be active during an assembly.  He also tells them when to shut and open their mouths to speak.  He tells some women they cannot speak to “ask” “in church,” but must do so “at home.”  Paul warns that all things are to be done without confusion (14:1-40).

Paul saves his correction of their unbelief in the resurrection for the last part of his letter (chapter 15).  This disbelief was also divisive, pitting the rejectors against those who believed in the resurrection of the dead.

Paul ends by giving them a command and encouragement to provide for the needs in Jerusalem.  He speaks of Timothy’s work.  He closes out with greetings from other assemblies (16:1-24).

SUMMING UP

Paul rallies the entire assembly to withdraw from ONLY one individual (5:1-13).  He refers to the congregation as “the body of Christ” (12:27).  He speaks of them as “brethren” 25 times.  He tells them that they are “the temple of God” and that the Spirit dwells IN them (3:16).  The Holy Spirit continues to work through the prophets, language speakers, and interpreters (12 and 14).  The congregation is not spoken of as an apostate, a former “church of Christ,” or a false church.  If their errors would remove them from our modern lists today as a true church, why does Paul refuse to identify them as such?  Is Paul’s refusal an indictment of spiritual weakness?

Does Corinth match the list you have created of what a true New Testament church must be in order to wear the label “church of God”?  If a congregation falls short of your list, wouldn’t that prove that it is not now nor can ever be the “Temple of God” in that imperfect condition?  Since Corinth fails in meeting such lists, isn’t Paul being presumptuous in recognizing them as “the church of God”?  If our lists would not include Corinth without them correcting all their errors, wouldn’t Paul’s recognition be erroneous too?  The first letter did not return them to being “the church.”  A second letter with its warning was needed (2 Corinthians 13:2).  Until they perfected everything, would your list allow them to be restored as “true” without it?  If you haven’t made that list, now is a good time to do so.  When you do, you might find your present membership isn’t valid!  Would that not be so because of your lack of perfection?

TRUST IN THE LORD

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Both ends of that Old Testament wisdom are difficult to practice.  Why?  We trust the wrong person and lean upon the understanding of the one we have substituted in place of Jesus.  Understanding has not always been man’s biggest ally.  Some of that lack is due to hardheadedness!  Perhaps we have accepted man’s spin on the subject rather than the simplicity expressed by Heaven.

For some people the reward of heaven depends more on them than it does upon the blood of Jesus.  One beloved preacher in my past stated that when one stood before Jesus, how well he did on accumulating good works would be how Jesus would past judgment upon him.  He stated that when he stood before Jesus, he would inform him about every good thing he had done to show his righteousness outweighed his sins.  His goal was to produce one more good work than his total for bad works.  This accomplishment would gain a “Well done” from Jesus.  Later in life he realized the fallacy of that position.  Some do not.

Some put their trust in their ability to be obedient.  They believe Jesus’ part took place two thousand years ago upon the cross.  The view is that Jesus made it possible for man to save himself by reading the instructions and keeping all the rules in the New Testament.  Acts 2:40 and Philippians 2:12 are quoted to substantiate that position.   It is true that faith must be manifested upon our part.  One must make the right decision if he wishes to enjoy the salvation offered by God.  However, in this view, if one is short of perfect rule keeping, his efforts may shortchange him with three words, “Depart from me.”  Most realize their percentage of “near” perfection may be too short to add up to the amount required.  This realization puts their hope into a deadly tailspin.  The only assurance that person can express is “maybe.”  Sadly, he isn’t even sure of that!  That’s not the kind of faith one needs.  That person’s trust is centered in his ability to reach and maintain perfection.  A goal that ends with him holding a bag full of insecurity.

When one has a false standard, it makes no difference how long his “obedient” list is.  It remains false.  Obedience is necessary, but it cannot earn him the payment he desires.  If perfect obedience is the goal, it is beyond his reach.  If one believes his obedience puts God in debt to him, he has misdirected the debt.  The results he desires may become his nightmare.  His trust is misplaced because the wrong person is its destination.

Too many believe they are responsible for paying off their sin debt.  Jesus said you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  There can only be one Savior and it isn’t you.  God did not anoint nor appoint you for that task.  Our trust must be in God and the one He anointed for that work (2 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Timothy 4:10).

INSPIRATION BEYOND THE NEW TESTAMENT BOOKS?

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, October 7, 2019

A good friend brought up a question concerning inspiration and whether or not it closed with the writing of the last New Testament book.  That question is best replied to with at least two answers.  Neither may be sufficient to cover the depths that an answer would require to adequately supply a full explanation.  Hopefully this will be of some benefit?

First, one would need to distinguish between “inspiration” as spoken by Jesus, the apostles, or prophets in the New Testament with today’s definition.  Today’s definition is: “1) The act of influencing or suggesting opinions.”  One may be of the opinion that he is inspired by Elvis singing “You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog.”  Another person might choose Wes Hampton of the Gaither Vocal Band singing “I’ll Pray For You.”  The person who is inspired by Elvis may not enjoy Wes Hampton’s song or vise-versa.  Different strokes for different folks.  Such inspiration is far removed from the “kind” mentioned in the New Testament.  Neither of these receives that inspiration from the Spirit speaking directly from heaven to their mind.  Their inspiration is based upon their human choice of singer and song.

On the other hand, Jesus told his apostles, “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time, you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20).  The apostles would not need a lawyer if arrested.  They would not need to prepare a speech to use if they were brought up on trial.  God would give them what they needed to say, so no preparation was needed.  God would also give them miraculous signs to prove they were God’s spokesmen (Mark 16:17-20).

Some in Corinth denied that Paul was a bonified apostles.  He answered that charge that the original membership knew he was because of the miraculous things he did in conjunction with his preaching (1 Corinthians 9:1-2).  Those false teachers claimed to have that “power,” but Paul said when he visited, they could prove it rather than only making their claims (4:18-20).

It is true that despite some in Corinth having the gift of prophesy, speaking in different languages, and interpreting, if they listened to the flesh rather than to the Spirit, they could end up believing a teaching false ideas.  Although Corinth had inspired prophets and language speakers, they allowed a divisive nature to lead them into confusion until Paul wrote giving them the Spirit’s corrections (1 Corinthians 14:1-33).  Today, we have the sword of the Spirit which is the written word.  Our advantage over first century saints is that we have the completed New Testament will in print and they did not.  Their advantage was that their teaching came directly from heaven and the miraculous gifts would confirm it.  Their scriptures were the Old Testament in Greek and Hebrew.  The disadvantage to that system was the eunuch did not take all of Philip’s inspired knowledge with him.  What he revealed orally about Jesus and his need to be immersed was all he had.  The same was true for each congregation created.  None had the New covenant in printed form.

If one was capable of removing all biblical knowledge from a person’s memory, how would that individual answer the question, “Where was Jesus born?”  His first response would be, “Who is Jesus?”  He would be like a modern comedian who was reading from a Gideon Bible from Matthew to the end of John.  He had no biblical knowledge.  When finished he asked, “Why did they crucify that man four times?”  One may impress others with his memorization, but if he uses those passages out of context, he doesn’t actually know his Bible.  The devil could quote scripture and did so (Matthew 4:6).  Regardless of how smart the devil was, his quote ended up proving his stupidity.

I may be inspired by what I read in scripture, yet that inspiration is not equal to how the apostles and prophets were guided by the Spirit.  Another saint may bless me with knowledge he has gleaned from the Bible which I did not know, but he gained his knowledge by reading the inspired text.  He is inspired by what he has read.  His inspiration did not come straight from heaven.  If he or I were inspired directly by the Spirit of God, what we introduced would not have to come from the pages of the New Testament.  If we claimed to receive our information directly from God, but it did not harmonize with what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, the Hebrew writer, or Jude wrote, then its source would be very questionable and riddled with doubt.  Gullibility has a strong religious following.

The inspiration I receive comes from the writings of Moses, the judges, the prophets, David, Solomon, and others in the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament.  I am inspired by the writings of Matthew through Revelation in the New covenant.  The Spirit is capable of moving me with those writings because the scriptures are His sword and He is the one who employs it.  God speaks to me through that written venue.  He uses others who are living by those written precepts to inspire me.  I am inspired when I believe others are moved by the Spirit’s written instructions.

Like all others, I have a choice.  I may listen and reevaluate my position, or I can ignore them and assume that my assumptions, inferences, and deductions are correct.  Just because someone firmly believes he has the miraculous power of the Spirit doesn’t mean I cannot test those convictions.  John warned, “Try the spirits” (1 John 4:1).  “Try,” I must, even when those who are tried claim my efforts are blaspheming the Holy Spirit!

There were a lot of false teachers in the first century.  Inspired individuals warned Christians about them.  Some claimed to be apostles and prophets but were not.  Until Cornelius showed up ten years after the Acts 2 Pentecost, the entire Jerusalem congregation, with the apostles, would not preach the Good News to them (Acts 10).  They had not understood their need to do so even though it was contained in Jesus’ commission.  Several years after that, the church had not decided what Gentiles needed to do or not do as far as Jewish circumcision or practicing Jewish worship was concerned (Acts 15).  That had not yet been fully understood.  Assumptions manufactured by Jewish members kept them from seeing that difference.  The circumcision problem continued to influence the church, even putting fear into an apostle, causing him to be hypocritical (Galatians 2).  Some wanted to bind “law keeping” on the church and inspiration referred to that movement as “another gospel” and falling “from grace” (Galatians 1:6-9; 5:4).  When the New Testament closed there remained imperfect congregations, with imperfect elderships, and imperfect ministers.  Each attempted to be faithful to Jesus although some fell away by rejecting him and his salvation (Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:25-29).

If one wishes to be inspired today, look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3).  Scripture is the Spirit’s sword (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).  Scripture will encourage you or warn you (John 3:16-21).  It will draw you or reject you according to your choices in life (John 6:44; 12:32; 12:48).  It will cut you or cuddle you (Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 11:28-30).  Your choice!

COMMON SENSE?

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Back in 1957 I was immersed by Harvey Pearson, the preacher for the Central Church of Christ in Ada, Oklahoma.  Harvey was responsible for teaching me some biblical information that I had previously been ignorant about.  I wasn’t a good student, being very argumentative.  Harvey in a calm manner answered each of my arguments with scripture.  After conversion I had as many questions as I did before my faith response.  Harvey told me one day, “Ray, don’t believe something because I say it, believe it because you find it in the Bible.”  I thought that was good advice, yet one day I asked him a question that he did not have an appropriate passage to give as his answer.  He thought about my question for a moment and then stated, “Ray, sometimes you must depend upon ‘common sense.’” I did what he told me NOT to do.  I accepted his answer as a valid one.  The answer shows its origin when you ask, “Whose ‘common sense’ is the utopian one?”  Another question equal to it is, “Who will be our ‘pope’ to give us the ultimate ‘common sense’ answer?”  I have known some fellows in my past who would have gladly taken that position but would have denied that they were a pope.

We fault our Catholic friends who rely upon their priest as their authority in what God’s will is or is not.  If I went to Harvey, or anyone else, and accepted their “common sense” answers, I would in principle be doing the same thing our Catholic friends do.  This inconsistency applies even when someone quotes scripture, assuming his interpretation is the correct “common sense” one.  He believes others should believe as he does, because his interpretation is God’s truth.  Most believe their religious convictions are correct.  In the letter to the Smyrna church, John wrote, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).  How faithful must one be in order to be “faithful unto death”?   If one hundred Christians were asked to make a 1, 2, 3 list of what “faithfulness” is, would they end on the same number?  Would their lists contain the same items?  Doubtful?  Common sense has the possibility of being inconsistent because it originates from imperfect individuals rather than God.  Even inspired prophets, language speakers, and interpreters waded in inconsistency.  They allowed their divisive allegiances to lead them astray rather than accept the inspired teaching given by the Holy Spirit.  Although Paul, Cephas, Apollos, and Jesus never taught division or singular loyalty to one personality, Corinth developed it by ignoring the inspired to accept someone’s “common sense.”  Regretfully, we still have that kind of follow-ship today.  Some preachers speak mightily on “unity” while believing that “division” is the fault of others.  There are around ten major divisions with an equal number that divide over the smallest disagreements.  Each division believes it is the faithful one.  The “faithful group” is the one with the correct, inspired list on “faithfulness” that all others must follow if they want to receive that same label.  Sadly, the label worn by some is: “I’ve got it.  You don’t.  Follow me or else.”

How much of what is believed today is nothing more than someone else’s “common sense”?  Aren’t we all infected in one degree or another?  We tell others, “Don’t listen to your preacher, read for yourself what the Bible states.”  Yet, we accept things our preachers say, even if it was said or written one hundred years ago.  I was reading an article by a minister recently and he quoted two other ministers as additional evidence that his interpretation of several passages was true.  Actually, the second quote used the first man’s statement that ended with a false conclusion.  Although all are well respected men, what does falsehood prove?

In 1957 Harvey Pearson asked me if I noticed any differences between our services and those of my former church.  I told him we didn’t have a piano.  He asked, “Do you know why?”  At that time, I didn’t.  Rather than hand me the Bible and cite me to the passage that explained that “Why,” he offered me M.C. Kurfees’ book written at the close of the nineteenth century.   I was a novice and did not know to ask, “Why not hand me the words of an inspired man rather than one that was written by an uninspired one?  A slogan among us is, “We preach the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.” If that slogan isn’t correct, why use it?  Shouldn’t our answers be from a 100% inspired book rather than from those written by uninspired individuals who spell out what the scriptures do not specifically point out?

This article is “My Thoughts.”  I am not inspired.  This means you may easily reject it because it is uninspired material.  If you want to be directed by inspiration, read your Bible.  If you don’t understand what you’re reading, ask someone with . . . “common sense”?

FIRST CENTURY CONTEXT

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 09/30/2019

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things WHICH MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; FOR THE TIME IS NEAR.”  (Revelation 1:1-3)

And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND.” (Revelation 22:10)

And behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)

He who testifies to these things says, “SURELY I AM COMING QUICKLY.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20 NKJV).

John is writing these things in the first century.  He is writing to first century congregations in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamas, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (1:20; Chapters 2 & 3).  These are congregations that Jesus is going to visit in a negative or positive way.  However, they no longer exist for Jesus’ purpose and promise to be fulfilled.  John is on the island of Patmos (1:9).  This writing is given two different dates.  The dating is critical to the understanding of this book.

Throughout the letter there is no specific reference to anyone outside John’s time frame.  Some believe that the ending of verse 19 covers the next 20 centuries, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” (Revelation 1:19).  That would be so IF not for the time limiting words used at the beginning and ending of the letter.  It is interesting that each new generation believes that theirs is the time the book will be fulfilled and read “shortly” and “quickly” as happening in their time, not John’s.  That means believers for twenty centuries have been disappointed and wrong!  Most may not realize it, but wouldn’t that view make those believers’ guilty of adding to or subtracting from what the book actually means (Revelation 22:18-19)?  That would also make my thoughts here in the same category if not true.  This is one reason some refuse to go past chapter four in studying the book.  They are afraid they may be guilty of doing what chapter twenty-two forbids.  Yet, despite that refusal, all Bible students either have a true or false view of the outcome of John’s revelation.  Someone has accurately summed this problem up with the coined phrase, “Your damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”  The reader must make up his mind whether my point is well taken, or among those that needs to be discarded.  A weighty decision regardless of the direction taken!

Since John was writing to seven first century congregations, which no longer exist, were Jesus’ warnings accepted as things that would happen in their day or 21 centuries later in ours?

EPHESUS: Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I WILL COME to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5).  Did Jesus  come visibly as he promised?

SMYRNA: Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).  Did Jesus come and give them the crown of life?

PERGANUM:Repent therefore! Otherwise, I WILL SOON COME to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:16).  Did Jesus “soon come” and fight for them?

THYATIRA: Only hold on to what you have UNTIL I COME” (Revelation 2:25).  Did he “come” as he promised?  If not, are they still holding on?

SARDIS:But if you do not wake up, I WILL COME like a thief, and you will not know at what time I WILL COME TO YOU” (Revelation 3:3).  Did Jesus keep his promise and “come”?

PHILADELPHIA:Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.  I AM COMING SOON” (Revelation 3:10-11).  Did Jesus keep his promise of a “soon” coming, or is the church in Philadelphia still waiting?

LAODICEA:I WILL COME” (Revelation 3:20).  Did he?

If I told you “I will come,” “I will give you,” or “I am coming soon,” would you say 1). He really means he isn’t coming NOW, but someone two thousand years from now will experience that “soon,” or 2) He failed to keep his promise?

When Jesus told John, “Surely I COME QUICKLY” and John replied, “Even so, COME Lord Jesus,” was John and Jesus actually using “QUICKLY” and “COME” to mean twenty centuries later and those expressions were never meant for John’s lifetime?

Some believe the letter was written prior to the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  Others believe it was written in 96 A.D. and will have its fulfillment in twenty or twenty-one centuries?

John is told to measure the Temple before the city of Jerusalem is trampled underfoot (Revelation 11:1-2).  If written after 70 A.D. no Temple would exist to measure.  Jesus prophecy in Matthew 24:1ff; Mark 13:1ff; and Luke 21:5ff is a major topic which John would have mentioned showing its fulfillment!

And those are my thoughts which will be published soon or quickly.

ABORTION vs KILLING THE INNOCENT

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 09/26/2019

Illegal use of firearms in the USA in 2018 took 11,208 innocent lives.  Abortions in 2018 in the USA took over 630,000 innocent lives.  One abortion clinic received the support from your taxes but had additional profits by selling body parts belonging to those innocent sacrifices.

THE DIFFERENCE?

It is lawful for abortion clinics to kill 630,000 innocent lives in one year’s time.  It is against the law for the criminal element to kill 11,208 innocent lives in that same time span.

The government, the abortion clinics, and most (not all) of the women who seek abortions believe it is their Constitutional right to end the pregnancy with the removal of the fetus or baby.   Local, State, and Federal government believe it is illegal for the criminal element to end the life of an innocent pregnant woman and her unborn baby.  It is right to end the life for 630,000 unborn babies each year.  It is wrong to end life for 11,208 in that same time period!  There are no Constitutional rights for 640,000 innocent lives taken against their will.  There are Constitutional rights reserved for each of the 11,208 whose lives were taken from them against their will.  The ones responsible are prosecuted and punished for that illegal action.

In 1973 arguments were made that the fetus is not a human being.  In 2019 arguments have been advanced that human beings that are not wanted may be killed in the womb or outside it.  However, it is right to kill a baby in a future mother’s womb if she doesn’t want it.  The fetus in that case is not believed to be a human being.

The liberals in Congress and society are upset when guns are used to murder 11,208.  They immediately blame the gun and manufacturers and want all guns confiscated and destroyed.  Yet, the only one blamed in the 640,000 abortions is the innocent unborn baby.  The sperm should not have contacted the egg.  A death sentence if the two get together.

 THE DIFFERENCE?

Abortion clinics and personnel are not blamed for 630,000 lives, but supported with our tax dollars.  The baby suffers the blame and death so the man and woman responsible are free to continue their rights.  That’s a ratio of 57 innocent deaths to each 1 murdered by a criminal.  Kill 1 and you’re in trouble with the law.  Kill 57 and the public defends it.

THE DIFFERENCE?

The age of the victim!  The justification: The victim is not wanted!

STRANGE BIBLICAL FACTS

My Thoughts. . .

Monday, 09/23/2019

Every Bible student will miss something in the Bible as he reads.  This is not usually done on purpose.  There are many valid reasons for this skipping or failing to recognize a point given.  One reason is because the New Testament was written over 1,965 years ago by Jews and one lone Gentile named Luke.

I mention this as an introduction to why we sometimes miss things as we read the Bible.  When those writers mentioned different activities common to that time, they are seeing it through their culture, not ours.  We miss what is being said due to reading our culture into the scriptures as if they did things the way we do.  They didn’t.

Although scripture commands the husband to “love his wife,” a similar command is not given directly to the wife.  When Paul wrote to the Ephesian and Colossian churches, he told men to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29, 31, 33a; Colossians 3:14).  In Ephesians she is told four times to love her husband.  In Colossian he commands it once.  Paul tells the woman in Ephesians 5:21 and Colossians 3:18 to submit to her husband.  In Ephesians 5:23 KJV the woman is instructed to “reverence” her husband.  This Greek word is found 93 times but translated only once as “reverence.”  62 times it is translated as “fear” and 28 times as “afraid.”  The ASV uses the word “fear,” but most other translations use the word “respect.”  Titus 2:5 states she must be obedient to him.  The only time the word “love” is used is when Paul tells Titus that the older women are to teach the younger women “to love their husbands” (v.4).  Apparently, until those older women obeyed that command, the younger married women needed to learn to love their husbands in order to have a godlier marriage.  Most today see those passages in light of our 21st century practices and prejudices.  Most read Paul’s command to men and assume the men in question already loved their wives.  We fall in love, so they must have too!  Love was not the determining factor for marriage in the Bible.

Isaac had never seen his wife before and did not see her face until they woke up the morning after he took her to his mother’s tent (Genesis 24:67).  Jacob worked for Rachel 7 years and when he woke up the next morning, his new wife was Leah.  She apparently did not uncover her face to Jacob until then (Genesis 29:21-26).  He had to work another 7 years to gain Rachel as a wife.  If a woman’s husband died before she had his son, she was to be wed to the next oldest son (Matthew 22:23-28).  The first son born to that union was considered his older brother’s child.  Mary was betrothed to Joseph and no other man could expect her to marry him.  These contracts were usually made between the parents of the two children while they were both small.  They rarely were in on the decision making.  When the girl reached her teens, she was given to the man as his wife.

The 21st century practice of dating, courtship, falling in love, and asking the woman for her hand in marriage, were foreign ideas that would develop in much later cultures.  Loving one’s mate before marriage was not necessary in biblical times.  Isaac came to love Rebecca after the honeymoon.  Jacob loved Rachel before their marriage but found out the next morning he was married to Leah whom he loved a lot less.  He would not have consciously worked for her for seven years!  Culture dictated several marriages for women which the Pharisees described to Jesus (Matthew 22:23-28).  Did she love each one of those brothers and desire marriage with each?  A 21st century woman would not.  For a women in her culture it was expected.  It was not her choice!

Paul is telling male believers in Ephesus and Colosse to love those women they have married.  Those women are more than baby makers or meal preparers.  Wives are taught by older women to love their husbands and children.  They are to submit to and respect their husbands.  A marriage is to be mutual in feelings one for the other.

Some miss Paul’s point due to our belief that love always precedes the marriage ceremony.  The lesson to us today is that love is learned and must be practiced by both parties in a marriage.  A successful marriage is one where each loves the other.  After all, “no man hates his own body” (Ephesians 5:29).  The culture of Paul’s day figures heavily into that statement!  “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.”

JESUS AND THE SWORD!

My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 09/19/2019

Jesus was not anti-gun, or I should say anti-sword.  He believed in a person protecting himself and those he loved.  In Luke he told his disciples that if they did not have a sword, they should sell their garment and buy one (Luke 22:36).  Then in verse 38 when they informed him that they had two, he said that was sufficient.  Such advise does not fall from the lips of someone who is against personal defense.   Later in the garden, Peter wishes to protect Jesus from the arresting mob and draws his weapon for that defense (John 18:10; Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:49; Luke 22:5o).  Jesus stopped Peter, not because it was wrong for him to be defended, but because this event was foretold by God and needed to be fulfilled (John 18:11; Isaiah 7:14; 53:4-12; Zechariah 12:10).  Jesus did not object to Peter nor one of the other apostles wearing a deadly weapon nor Peter’s wiliness to use it.  Peter’s weapon was so sharp that with one blow he took off an ear.  I doubt if he was aiming for Malchus’ ear.

Some will point out that the Lord told his disciples to, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).  Yes, and he also said, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19).  If I have to make a choice between a criminal and my wife and family, I will defend my family because my love is greater for them than someone who wants to harm them.  Some will object by saying “Your family is saved and will go to heaven if murdered.  However, the criminal is not.  If you kill him, you take away his opportunity to later become a Christian.”  There may be some truth in that statement, but what if he later goes on a kill spree?  Wouldn’t your failure to stop him make you partially guilty of allowing him to continue on his murderous rampage?  What if those others he murders are not saved?  Wouldn’t that make you guilty of failing to give them a second chance by not stopping their murderer when you had the opportunity?

Jesus gave his permission to the apostles to buy a deadly weapon.  Should one indict Jesus if those apostles killed a criminal defending themselves?  A person who would sacrifice himself rather than shoot a criminal has a right to that belief.  However, is it fair for him to make his decision mandatory for his family if they have the ability to use a weapon to stop the criminal?  I will not bind my convictions on him, and he does not have the liberty to bind his belief upon me nor upon his family!  Some argue that if a break-in is in progress, the homeowner should call the police and allow the law to protect him.  The usual response time of the police is five or more minutes unless they happened to be cruising in your neighborhood.  However, if one’s faith will allow him to sacrifice his family to the whims of a criminal, why put a policeman’s life in danger by calling him?  What if the officer is not a Christian?  By calling him, you put him at risk.  Why not keep your faith consistent by trusting God to either deliver you or help you to face death?

Some argue that one should trust in God rather than place their trust in a gun.  On the surface that sounds biblical, yet when examined, inconsistencies appear.  If trusting God means one cannot own a firearm to stop the criminal, when he desires to steal, rape, and murder, then why do those who say they trust God possess house, car, hospitalization, accident, and warranty insurance?  Don’t they trust God to protect them?  When Jesus told his apostles to sell an article of clothing and buy a sword, was it because he didn’t trust the Father to protect them?  The argument judges the gun owner with the sin of misplaced trust.  Yet the hand that points has four fingers that condemn the pointer with that same type charge!

Peter had his sword because Jesus authorized him to buy one.  We are not told who possessed the other sword.  He too was authorized to own one.  Jesus gave them that authority.  If I were guessing, a good candidate would be Simon the Zealot.  That is just a guess.  What is not speculation is that Jesus authorized his followers to buy, carry, and use weapons when necessary.  Each individual must decide for himself whether his conscience will permit him to possess one and use it.  For whatever reason, ten out of twelve apostles did not carry.  They depended upon the ability of the two to protect them if that help became necessary.

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑